Showing posts from September, 2011

How do you handle bad news?

There are lots of places to look for information on how to deal with the bad things that happen to you.  And there are many more to deal with the bad news you have to deal out to other people.  What I am wondering about is how you handle explaining to other people that something bad has happened to you.

Bad news is often made worse by the feeling that we have done something to deserve it.  We have a stake in taking responsibility for the bad things that happen to us because it creates the illusion that next time we can behave differently and so evade the bad things that happen.  Other people would prefer to believe that we caused our own problems because otherwise they have to admit that they are also vulnerable to bad stuff happening. So whether we are internally or externally motivated, we are motivated to take control of grief or suffering by accepting some degree of blame for it.

So admitting that something bad has happened is almost like admitting we have done something to allow …

New worlds require lots and lots of energy

I have been spending hours holding a new born baby in the last week.  She is tiny and perfect and tired.  She stretches and makes a face and then, halfway to a cry, falls back into sleep.  Her mom says it's because it's a big, scary, disorienting thing to be born.  Everything is new, not just outside but inside. She's never had to breathe and suck and swallow all at once before.  She's never had to notice so much with her eyes and her ears.  It takes some getting used to, and it takes some rest.
New parents, too, have been born into a new world and they find that their own experience echoes their baby's.  They, too, find that fingers and breath work differently in a world that includes their baby.  They don't eat or sleep or make choices in the same way.  They move between the wonder of their baby and the wonder of being able to close their own eyes and rest.
So often, we look back at a new beginning and remember it as a time of tremendous energy. It's the…

On the day you were born

For the first time in a long time, I have know quite a few people expecting babies this summer.  It's had me thinking lots about birth stories.  When a parent shares a story that starts "on the day you were born" magic happens.

It is not because babies always arrive in a planned-down-to-the-last detail way.  Birth is one of the few places were we let a beginning take care of itself.  Babies know when they should be born.  They know even when we think that conditions are not as perfect as they should be to welcome a new little person.

Some things are within our control, and most things are not.  Birth reminds us that miracles happen on days when the computer crashed and three people let us down and we were frustrated or struggling.  Babies don't ask whether their parents and all significant others are in the appropriate mood with all the appropriate arrangements made. They arrive according to their own schedule.

I wonder what that could mean for other kinds of birth.…

A Time of Waiting

This summer, I have posted metaphors and stories in a effort to condition myself to be more intentional about trusting my stories to communicate what I need to say.  I will continue to create and tell stories in my blogs, but as fall begins (everyone knows that Labour Day is really the final day of summer), I am going to add some more direct discussion of both what works and what stops us.

In eight days, we will hold NLP Canada Training's biggest single event of the year: The HOPE Symposium.  The week before the symposium is a killer: the conceptual planning is done. There are, of course, a million practical details to look after.  But mostly there are two questions:
1) What will the speakers actually do?
2) Now that I've built it, will the audience come?

The only really way to answer these questions is to live in uncertainty until the 17th of September. I can create clever campaigns to promote what I want, and I will have indications, but I won't actually know until the 1…

Coyote laughter

Do you hear it? That's coyote laughing. I have been reading about coyote in a book from the West Coast about storywork. I like that term "storywork" - a term that means using stories to make a difference. It's a stronger term than "teaching tale." Of course a book on the way stories do work requires coyote. Coyote taught me the power of stories to make change happen. He also taught me not to pretend I could predict the way change would happen or what it would mean. That's not coyote territory. 

What I mean is this: when I was starting to train NLP, I let Coyote into the room one day (through a children's story by Thomas King). And once he was there, he stayed. Unpredictable leverage points came and went. So did laughter. There was a certain edginess in the room, but also an effervescence, a liveliness. That was coyote's doing. And I learned that a story is a call to a spirit or state, and that it makes changes in the way a day will …